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Herwin Bahar/PA Images File photo.
Tech wars

Maker of video game Fortnite seeks injunction against Apple's 'retaliation' as battle escalates

The company Epic says steps taken by tech giant Apple will “irreparably damage” its reputation.

THE COMPANY BEHIND popular video game Fortnite has asked a judge to stop what it claimed is retaliation by Apple for challenging the App Store fee policy.

After pulling Fortnite from its App Store last week, Apple notified Epic Games it will cut off access to tools needed to tailor software for devices powered by the iPhone maker’s operating systems, according to a request for a temporary restraining order.

Without those tools, Epic will not be able to create iPhone, iPad or Mac computer versions of its widely used Unreal Engine for powering rich graphics, the company said.

The Unreal Engine powers popular video games other than Fortnite, and has applications such as virtual reality training for astronauts and visual effects for television shows such as The Mandalorian, according to Epic.

“Not content simply to remove Fortnite from the App Store, Apple is attacking Epic’s entire business in unrelated areas,” the restraining order request argued.

“Left unchecked, Apple’s actions will irreparably damage Epic’s reputation among Fortnite users and be catastrophic for the future of the separate Unreal Engine business.”

Epic asked a judge to stop Apple from refusing to list Fortnite at the App Store or restrict access to the developers program until the matter is resolved in court.

Apple told Epic it would be cut off from software development tools by 28 August, the filing said.

The Silicon Valley-based tech giant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

‘Anti-competitive conduct’

Apple and Google last week pulled video game sensation Fortnite from their mobile app shops after Epic released an update that dodges revenue sharing with the tech giants.

The latest version of Fortnite contains a payment system that lets player transactions bypass Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play, preventing the firms from collecting their typical 30% cut.

Apple, which does not allow users of its popular devices to download apps from anywhere but its App Store, booted the game from its online marketplace, followed later by Google.

Epic quickly filed a federal lawsuit against Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of wielding monopoly power.

The suit seeks a halt to Apple’s “anti-competitive conduct” and invalidation of the tech giant’s rules requiring app developers to pay the company 30% of transactions.

The suit is asking the court to order Apple to change its commission structure for all developers.

Apple said last week that Fortnite was pulled after “Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users.”

Gamers will still be able to play Fortnite on their mobile devices, though Apple users will no longer be able to receive updates because those would need to come through the App Store.

Android users can still download updates directly from Epic.

© AFP 2020

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